At first glance this is another story that’s a rather by the numbers 1960s crime tale, which could as easily be an episode of The Saint or similar with very little reworking – and given the amount of cannibalisation of scripts at the time, it probably was! – and while that may sound as if that’s damning this with faint praise, it isn’t. This is one of the first stories that Big Finish has produced where the script isn’t available to them – so Justin Richards has had to recreate Richard Harris’ tale from a very short synopsis, an anecdote told by Ian Hendry (the original Keel), and some location photos…
And you can’t tell. Hunt the Man Down fits seamlessly into the Avengers canon as told by Big Finish: there’s the odd moment where it feels as if we’re having something described to us that would have been clear in the televised episode (and Richards is enough of an old hand at audio scripting that you have to believe it’s deliberate), and the characterisation of Steed and Keel is spot on. (Keel’s reactions to Steed’s arrival is perfect.) In fact, if I hadn’t read the sleeve notes after listening to the episode, I simply wouldn’t have realised. It’s a great argument for Big Finish being allowed to continue the Keel and Steed adventures in years to come – perhaps even giving us a final tale for them?
Verdict: The start of a new phase for the Big Finish Avengers is handled extremely well. 9/10